Interventional radiology (IR), also known as vascular and interventional radiology (VIR), is a medical specialty which provides minimally invasive image-guided diagnosis and treatment of various diseases and ailments. A vast range of procedures are performed by interventional radiologists all over the globe, However, the application of image guidance and minimally invasive techniques in order to minimize risk to the patient, are two principles followed by all radiologists, regardless of which procedure is used.
Interventional radiologists mainly perform both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. However, diagnostic angiography is becoming less common as the quality and reliability of CT and MRI angiography caused alternative forms of non-invasive evaluation and treatment to spring up.
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Diagnostic interventional radiology mainly includes three subcategories – angiography and, cholangiography, and biopsy. Angiography involves retrieving images of the blood vessels to check if abnormalities are present with the use of various contrast media. Such media includes iodinated contrast, gadolinium based agents, and CO2 gas. In contrast, cholangiography deals with retrieving images of bile ducts within the liver to look for areas of blockage. In case of biopsy, a tissue sample is taken from the area of interest, and is checked for pathological examination from a percutaneous or transvenous approach.
Compared to diagnostic methodologies, numerous therapeutic exist such as endovascular aneurysm repair, balloon angioplasty, embolization, thrombolysis, dialysis, endovascular laser treatment, central venous catheter placement, drainage catheter placement, and many others. From an overall perspective, the therapeutic procedures are divided into various sub-categories such as vascular, intervention, catheter placement, ablative, genitourinary, and pain management.
With numerous chronic diseases on the rise in recent times owing to unhealthy lifestyles and other habits, a large need of interventional radiology procedures is happening in recent times. This has been greatly propelling the market. However high costs required for availing these treatments may hinder the global interventional radiology market’s growth.
Global Interventional Radiology Market: Overview
Interventional radiology (IR) is a medical sub-specialty of radiology, which uses minimally invasive image-guided procedures and methods to diagnose and treat various diseases. IR techniques include a range of radiological image guidance methods such as ultrasound, X-ray fluoroscopy, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). IR has transformed every sphere of patient management process and has gained traction among clinicians and patients due to the use of minimally invasive image-guided techniques.
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The interventional radiology market is highly competitive. Interventional radiologists provide cost-effective and better quality care than most other surgical alternatives by minimizing risks to patients and improving health outcomes. Most popular IR procedures include central venous access, angiography, balloon angioplasty, stenting, embolization, and a variety of catheter-based diagnostic and therapeutic tools.
Global Interventional Radiology Market: Key Trends
The interventional radiology market is primarily driven by the thrust for minimally invasive techniques in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases worldwide. The host of benefits that make IR procedures preferable to traditional treatments include reduced risks to patients, shorter hospital stays, lower cost of treatment, enhanced comfort, and speedy convalescence. The use of IR for treating a wide spectrum of chronic diseases has provided an impetus to the global market. Constant technological advancements in computer-assisted visualization and robot-assisted surgery are anticipated to positively impact the IR market. In addition, relentless efforts by healthcare providers in improvising the success rate of IR procedures are expected to propel the market over the forecast period. Fueled by prominent trends in a value-based healthcare environment, IR services are being increasingly targeted at outpatient settings.
Global Interventional Radiology Market: Market Potential
The range of therapeutic and diagnostic conditions targeted by IR procedures is continually expanding, so is the growth outlook of the IR market. Inroads made by artificial intelligence (AI) in various automation technologies have recently opened up new vistas in interventional radiology and likely to transform patient care in the not-so-distant future. Last month, interventional radiologists at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) sed AI to create a virtual radiologist, called “chatbot”, a type of virtual consultant developed to help clinicians make crucial decisions.
Powered by “deep learning technologies”, these interventional radiologists can automatically communicate with various referring clinicians and provide them with evidence-based answers via text messages. This helps the referring physicians equip their patients with real-time information related to the next phase of treatment and help them select the best course of action. Currently, the prototype is being tested by a small team of radiation oncologists, hospitalists, and interventional radiologists at UCLA.
The potential of the technology can be gauged from the fact that the researchers used over 2,000 model data points based on the most common queries interventional radiologists are generally asked during consultations. The research findings were presented at the annual scientific meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology 2017 held in March 2017. The investigator of the study, Kevin Seals, MD, a resident physician at UCLA, intends to expand the potential of AI to design a master assistant that will be independent of institutions and can be used for other medical specialties.
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Global Interventional Radiology Market: Regional Outlook
Geographically, North America is a prominent market for interventional radiology procedures. The impressive growth of the regional market is attributed to increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, the soaring demand for minimally-invasive image diagnostics, and advancement in automation technologies. Meanwhile, the Asia Pacific market is expected to clock a higher CAGR over the forecast period driven by rising geriatric population, increasing government support, and significant advances in healthcare infrastructure. Various emerging markets in Asia mirror ample opportunities for companies on account of a large untapped market.
Global Interventional Radiology Market: Competitive Analysis
Companies are making substantial R&D investments in various imaging modalities to improve the success of IR procedures. Leading players are targeting emerging economies to consolidate their shares in the IR market. Some of the prominent players eyeing profitable avenues in the interventional radiology market are Siemens Healthcare GmBH, Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation, Koninklijke Philips N.V., Carestream Health, Inc., GE Healthcare, Hitachi Medical Corporation, Esaote S.p.A, Fujifilm, Hologic, Inc., and Medison.
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